Everyone is talking about Millennials (or Generation Y). It makes sense; they’re the current tastemakers and trendsetters. However, we’re at the stage where Millennial tastes are well established and documented. Now it’s time to start looking at what will appeal to the next generation of consumers, Generation Z, representing the 68 million people in America aged 6-19 and already making or influencing dining decisions.
Gen Z will be significantly different from its predecessors in a number of ways. Growing up in difficult times will result in them being more careful about what they spend their money on, as well as being more concerned about what’s in the food they eat. Knowledge of obesity awareness and a much more thorough understanding of nutrition will strongly influence them. Gen Z is going to demand fresh, natural, organic foods. Healthy menu options will be a premium for them.
Another change will be in the types of food they want. Gen Z is more ethnically diverse than their previous cohorts. Traditional American food (burgers and fries) will appeal less to them than ethnic food and fusion options that speak to their heritages and sense of authenticity. Gen Z will be looking for restaurants that have real connections to the foods they serve and cultures they represent, and can demonstrate good corporate citizenship.
In addition to those factors, Gen Z will want to be able to have their food their way, being able to customize and personalize a dish will be more important to them than previous generations. Even more than Gen X & Y, Gen Z will embrace restaurant technology and mobile ordering and payments to a high degree.